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Thoughts on What it Takes to Lead as a Nonprofit CEO

Posted by Kim Paugh, CAE on Jun 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Being a nonprofit CEO/executive director is no easy task. The CEO is responsible for moving the organization through obstacles towards an ever-changing preferred future for the organization and its members. For those currently in this role or those who aspire to get there, here are few thoughts on successful leadership for you to ponder.

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives, Leadership Strategies, Nonprofit

Leaders Changing or Changing Leaders

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jun 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I was sitting around with friends from my CAE study group days catching up when like usual to a group of thinkers I asked, “Do you think as associations change that it is the result of leaders changing or of the association making a change in leadership?” I know what you’re thinking: Remind me never to go to one of Jay’s CAE study reunions. But if you pause for a second…your mind begins to really struggle with the question.

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives

Build a Strong Team with Profiles & Assessments

Posted by Kim Stoneking, CAE on Apr 27, 2016 12:00:00 PM

It has been said that, “He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.” In your capacity as a leader, you are undoubtedly working with a “team”—that might be your staff, the board of directors, committee members or a combination of all of the above. A team best functions when each member knows others on the team and there is an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, behavioral style and motivation that make up each individual. Nice idea isn’t it? But how do you build a strong team and make it happen?

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Strategies, Hiring Strategies

Working with a Coach…What’s In It for Me?

Posted by Kim Stoneking, CAE on Apr 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As associations and other non-profits compete with and are compared to corporate America, the challenge has never been greater. In today’s environment of accelerating change and increasing uncertainty, only leaders who know who they are and where they are going will succeed. Today’s leaders must do more than manage change—they must thrive on it!

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Strategies, Coaching

Leadership Ladder Inspector: Are They Leaning on the Right Wall?

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Feb 17, 2016 12:00:00 PM

There are very few associations that have little to no activities going on. We are busier than we ever have been. So the question is not about activity, but productivity. Doing things and putting in time does not necessarily translate into productive, mission-driven, member-impacting activity. That should not really be a surprise, but how often do we “do” without considering the direction of “doing?”

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives

Taboo Topics: Firing a Volunteer

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jan 20, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I was recently at a neighborhood gathering where one of the attendees just had a terrible haircut. But as soon as I asked, “What happened?” he answered, “What do you mean?” I tried to explain only to find out he did not want to talk about it or even acknowledge the stylist made a monumental mistake. His hair was a “taboo topic.” Everyone saw it and knew it but no one wanted to talk about it. 

Every association has taboo topics: Those things we all see but just don’t have the courage or strength to discuss. I hope to periodically address them in future blogs and my first is “How do you fire a volunteer?” You may have a name in mind right now. Don’t say that name out loud. 

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Topics: Volunteers, Leadership

The Best Investment You Can Make

Posted by Mary Byers, CAE on Jan 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I just finished four years of coaching. It was expensive. It required time out of the office. And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Here’s why:

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives, Programs

Are Leaders Born or Taught?...Yes!

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jan 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM


That age old argument about whether leaders are born or taught is moot in my mind. I believe it is both. There are some who exhibit natural God-given talents and temperaments to lead. They are the ones who step up, make suggestions and have charisma. There are also leaders who have worked at leadership. They have taken life experiences or the words of great mentors to heart and learned well. These leaders are the lifelong learners who are excited to gain a new skill or put a new tip into practice. Leaders are both born and taught. As association leaders it is important we understand both sides of our leadership and leverage each so we can be the most effective leaders possible. 

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives

What “The Walking Dead” Taught Me about Associations

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Oct 28, 2015 12:00:00 PM

AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” (TWD) is a secret love of mine. I know, I know, zombies and association management? Many are probably thinking, “Jay, you have lost it. You are just rationalizing watching the show or you may need to get away and take a break.” But hear me out. Here are four lessons association professionals can learn from “The Walking Dead.”

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Topics: Leadership, Associations, Association Management

Are We Lost? 5 Leadership Strategies to Help Leaders Stay the Course

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Aug 26, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Have you ever followed a leader that you wondered if they were messing things up on purpose? I know I am not proud of it, but the question made me think more about it. Leaders don’t wake up and say, “Today, let’s figure out a way to confuse everybody, move the organization in the wrong direction and slowly drive the employees insane.” If they are not sitting around thinking about how they can steer the organization in the wrong direction, that means it occurs unintentionally. We must be vigilant to stay on the right path. Here are five helpful leadership strategies.

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Strategies

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